It is missing any laugh-out-loud or memorable moments but Horrible Bosses 2 is a consistently amusing and much improved comedy sequel.
Not many people have been shouting for a sequel to 2011’s Horrible Bosses but considering it’s box office success (210 million dollars worldwide), it is not a surprise that one has been produced. The first film saw Nick, Kurt and Dale fail to execute the murders of their own ‘horrible bosses’ in a series of unfunny set-pieces. Surprisingly though, the lighter central crime (a kidnapping) has forced the film to be more reliant on the comedic merits of the three main actors, resulting in a funnier, more confident and generally better film.
Horrible Bosses 2 follows Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudekis) and Dale (Charlie Day) as they plan to kidnap Rex Hanson (Chris Pine), the son of billionaire businessman Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz), who has stolen their idea to make showering more efficient with the’ Shower Buddy’ and left them with all the manufacturing costs. However, as expected, through their own stupidity the kidnapping does not go as they planned.
As anyone who has watched the first film would expect, the cast is packed with stars. Cristoph Waltz and Chris Pine join the already familiar crew that includes Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jason Bateman and more. Although it’s good to see some characters returning, Aniston’s recovering sex addict Julia being a highlight, other actors seem to have been shoehorned in without having much to do in the film. Kevin Spacey appears twice, each time from prison, where he shouts insults at the three leads before they quickly leave, wondering why they sought his advice at all. Spacey certainly plays the part well but Waltz and Pine have taken his place as the horrible boss and his character adds nothing to the film’s narrative or humour. Jamie Foxx’s Motherfucker Jones is also underutilised as his dark humour does not work with a kidnapping in the same way it did with murder. His inability to haggle is the character’s only contribution to the comedy and he only appears later in the film as a driver for the film’s protagonists in a surprisingly good car-chase sequence. It is a shame that two of the highlights from the first film seem out of place here, rather than key to the plot and the humour.
The first film’s main problem was that it simply was not funny enough. However, rather than relying on the bosses for laughs, Horrible Bosses 2 focuses on the relationship between Nick, Kurt and Dale, which leads to some genuinely amusing moments. Bateman, Sudekis and Day have clearly been given the freedom to improvise by director Sean Anders, making the moments of sheer stupidity seem more natural. The three of them did not come across as the brightest of men in the first film but Bateman’s character often seems to be a babysitter figure to the other two, whilst remaining clueless himself, suggesting the idiocy has been taken to another level. Surprisingly though, their stupidity never becomes tiresome and their interactions, as well as the resulting one-liners, become the film’s main source of humour. Julia, the psychopathic dentist played excellently by Aniston breaks up the juvenile humour with twisted moments, that are even filthier than in the first film, to ensure the stupidity does not become stale. It is never laugh-out-loud funny but it is certainly amusing from start to finish and the outtakes in the credits emphasise how much fun they all had making the film.
It is missing any laugh-out-loud or memorable moments and the some members of the cast have been poorly utilised but the interactions between Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day make Horrible Bosses 2 a consistently amusing and much improved comedy sequel.
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014), directed by Sean Anders, is distributed in the UK by Warner Bros., Certificate 15.